AOH National President Daniel O'Connell.

Hibernians Welcome O'Neill Appointment

The Ancient Order of Hibernians has applauded what it called "the historic appointment of Michelle O'Neill as First Minister of Northern Ireland."

Said the Hibernians in a statement: "This pivotal development of the appointment of the first First Minister from a nationalist background and the resumption of the democratic institutions of governance after two years of boycott by those resistant to democratic change represents a significant stride toward reconciliation and inclusivity in Northern Irish politics.

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"This historic achievement, transcending political divisions, signifies transformative progress towards inclusive governance and equal representation, reflecting the collective hopes for a harmonious future among all Northern Irish communities."

AOH National President Daniel O'Connell added: "Today marks a monumental achievement that would have seemed unlikely just a few years ago: the appointment of a representative from an Irish nationalist party as the First Minister of Northern Ireland.

"The Ancient Order of Hibernians congratulates First Minister Michelle O'Neill for making history for Ireland, women, and the world.

"However, even more significantly, today ends once and for all the days of Stormont being a "Protestant Parliament for a Protestant People," making it a parliament for all members of the community of Northern Ireland. It marks a significant stride towards dismantling the artificial divisions historically exploited for political domination.

"Today's events celebrate the resilience of democracy. They affirm that the majority's mandate prevails over the fears of a reticent minority clinging to an obsolete past. Despite attempts to delay, the democratic voice of the people has ultimately succeeded.

"Today is a day of world significance. Today's events show that where there is will and courage, peace can triumph even over centuries of violence and oppression; if today's events can happen in Northern Ireland, they can happen anywhere.

"While today is a beacon of hope in a challenging global landscape, it is imperative that the United States does not declare 'mission accomplished' prematurely. Instead, the U.S. must continue its historic role in nurturing this beacon of the power of democracy over conflict in Northern Ireland, offering it as a much-needed source of inspiration worldwide."